It was a warm day in July — not usually when you’d expect a lot of student activity on campus. And yet, there they were: members of Dal’s incoming first-year class, scurrying about the Rowe building in search of the answers to their every university-related quandary.
"There's a lot to know when you're starting university,” says Amy McEnvoy, Dalhousie first-year advisor. “Summer Orientation offers students a head start and a chance to meet people before classes begin."
Summer Orientation offers many opportunities for incoming Dalhousie students. After all, even experienced students have questions about academics, student life and campus resources. Sessions on financing your education and time management are topics on which even current students could always brush-up on.
A significant focus of the day was on how to make a successful transition to university life: From how to get involved, to living in residence, and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle while at school, campus experts and upper-year students shared their tips for success.
A first chance to discover Dal
New students were given several opportunities to 'meet and mingle' with other new students Incoming nursing student Haley Vining explained that the thing that scared her most was, “taking the first step towards meeting new people.” Smiling at a fellow incoming nursing student seated across from her during lunch at Howe Hall, she said, “I’m not so worried now.”
This sentiment was echoed by other new students. While the general consensus seamed to be that the pragmatic sessions were helpful, the parts of the day that these new students found just as rewarding were the ones that encouraged them “[to not] be afraid to get involved, since we’re all in the same boat,” as English and Political Science grad and session facilitator Layne Wilson explained.
Sessions for parents as well
Summer Orientation also featured sessions for parents. Presentations addressed common concerns like what to expect in the first year, how parents can support their student's transition to university,,homesickness, and Dalhousie services and resources..One father told me that he has a son at another Canadian university, but his experience with Dalhousie so far had offered better preparation for the students and a greater sense of comfort joining the school community.
If there was ever any doubt that this relatively new initiative – now in its third year — was of benefit to incoming students, not any longer. Students and parents alike agreed that Dalhousie's Summer Orientation lifted a weight off their shoulders and provided them with a sense of relief going into the busy season ahead of them.
A second Summer Orientation date will take place on Thursday, August 28.
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